A nonprofit that serves children, youth and families will host a grand opening this week for its new Fresh Market at UMCH.
Grand Rapids-based United Methodist Community House said it will host a grand opening for The Fresh Market at UMCH, at 900 Division Ave. SE in Grand Rapids, on Thursday.
The Fresh Market at UMCH is part of Access of West Michigan’s growing fresh market network.
Located in the racially diverse 49507 ZIP code that is often called a food desert, the Fresh Market at UMCH — which is open to all — is designed to bring healthy, affordable food options to residents of southeast Grand Rapids, including those who are food insecure.
“One in every four families with children in Kent County struggles with food insecurity,” said Deja VanOeveren-Goss, Fresh Market coordinator. “Even if these families have enough to eat, it can be difficult or impossible for lower-income families in the core neighborhoods of Grand Rapids to find fresh, healthy foods they can afford.”
UMCH’s mission is to help children, youth, adults and families succeed in a diverse community. This is why the team knew it needed to find a viable solution to the food crisis.
The Fresh Market at UMCH will work to build a stronger, more inclusive food system in southeast Grand Rapids in the following ways:
- The Fresh Market will accept seven forms of payment including EBT, Snap, MasterCard, Visa, Cash and more — allowing for customers to use their government assistance to pay for their goods.
- The store will offer sliding scale pricing based on household income, making it more affordable for families to buy healthier groceries.
- The produce sold at the Fresh Market will be high-quality, mostly organic produce grown by local farmers.
- With the pandemic lingering, customers can shop online ahead of time and then pick up their order in store at a scheduled time.
- The Fresh Market will deliver statewide, and delivery is free for Kent County residents ages 60 and older.
- When people make a purchase at the Fresh Market, that purchase will help make healthy food affordable to more families in Grand Rapids.
“Emergency food providers have long been the main response to hunger and food insecurity. But a charity food system focused on things like ‘security’ and ‘relief’ cannot address deep injustice in the food system,” said McKenzie Jackson, Access of West Michigan’s good food systems manager. “The Access network of fresh markets is a new, community-driven approach to food systems that work for everyone. We’re excited to have the Fresh Market at UMCH join us as the newest member of our market network.”
At the Fresh Market’s grand opening, UMCH will host the farmers who supply all of the market’s produce at a “Meet the Grower” event. To keep everything as local as possible, UMCH will work closely with FarmLink, Groundswell Farm, New City Farm and others to supply families with healthy produce options.
“We are so proud to be partnering with UMCH to help supply the Fresh Market store,” said Bruce Michael-Wilson, owner of Groundswell Farm. “Our organic produce farm in Hudsonville is more than prepared to work alongside UMCH to create healthier, more affordable grocery options for families in Grand Rapids.”
The Fresh Market at UMCH is open 4-7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
United Methodist Community House
Founded in 1902, the United Methodist Community House works to increase the ability of children, youth, adults and families to succeed in a diverse community. UMCH continually adapts its programming to best serve those who need it most.